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2021-2022 NBA season: Key dates as league returns to normal schedule

(AP Photo / Mark J. Terrill)

Two shortened offseasons later, the NBA will be able to get back on a normal schedule when the 2021-2022 regular season kicks off in October.

Shortly after the conclusion of the 2021 NBA Finals and a few days before the 2021 NBA Draft, the league announced some key dates for the upcoming season, beginning with the start of free agency at 6 p.m. ET on August 2, 2021.

The league calendar moves onto the first date where teams can officially begin signing free agents, four days after the August 2 date for teams to begin negotiations.

>>RELATED: The NBA wants a midseason tournament. Here’s how it could work.

From there, the only thing separating the league from the beginning of the season is its Summer League, which will take place in Las Vegas between August 8 and August 17.

Training camp will get going on September 28, with the regular season’s official start date set for three weeks later on October 19.

That regular season schedule, barring any interruptions, would end on April 10, 2022, a much more normal time than the May end date from the 2020-2021 season and the March or August end dates (depending on the team) from the year prior.

Much to the chagrin of prominent names like Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the league will continue on with its play-in tournament format for the third consecutive season. That tournament is scheduled to take place between April 12 and April 15 in 2022.

>>RELATED: NBA playoffs: Is the play-in tournament a ‘mistake’ like Mark Cuban said?

The playoffs would begin on April 16, running up until the start of the NBA Finals on June 2. If the NBA Finals were to go to a Game 7, the series would end on June 19.

Four days later, the league would kick-start the 2022-2023 season with the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23.

Time will tell what kind of impact COVID-19 may have on the league’s plans for the 2021-2022 season, and if any dates would be impacted as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

For now, basketball fans can take solace in the fact that the league is returning to a bit of normalcy after back-to-back sprints as it relates to the regular-season schedule.

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